Spies shows promise on Rizla Suzuki MotoGP debut Ben Spies made his Rizla Suzuki MotoGP debut at Donington Park in England today and settled into his new environment quickly, showing a marked improvement in his times during today's two free ...
Spies shows promise on Rizla Suzuki MotoGP debut
Ben Spies made his Rizla Suzuki MotoGP debut at Donington Park in England today and settled into his new environment quickly, showing a marked improvement in his times during today's two free practice sessions.
Spies (1'30.766, 58 laps) is deputising for the injured Loris Capirossi at the British Grand Prix and the two-time AMA Superbike Champion spent the majority of the day learning the 4,023m English track. Spies knocked over a second off his lap-times between the morning and afternoon sessions as he finished the day in 17th place on the timesheets. He is confident of improving tomorrow and will be trying to move further up the standings.
Chris Vermeulen made a strong start to the Donington weekend and topped the timesheets a number of times during the two sessions, working with his crew to further develop the Suzuki GSV-R using some of the data gathered from the recent Catalunya test. Vermeulen completed a long run on a set of Bridgestone race tyres in the afternoon session and was pleased with the results. His best time of 1'29.410 from his 57 laps gave him ninth position on the leaderboard. Today's fastest time was set by Casey Stoner on his factory Ducati.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more free practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 30-lap race is round eight of the season and the event gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (14.00GMT).
"At least we got a full dry today at Donington, as the weather forecast had been a bit hit and miss as to whether it would rain. We tried a lot of different things with the bike today, most of which we learnt from the Barcelona test and it seems to be helping the machine around here. I've lapped consistently today and I kept in a set of tyres for most of this afternoon's session, and with over twenty laps on them I put in my best time of the day -- which was also quicker than my qualifying time here last year! So it seems we have taken a big step here with the GSV-R, but we still have a few things to try tomorrow, both chassis and engine wise to make the bike work better. If we can get a little bit more pace I think we can jump in front of a few riders."
"I'm not used to being this far back in the field, but with what we are trying to achieve here this weekend I've got to be pleased with how it has gone today. This is the first time I've been on this bike and the first time I've ever been to Donington, so realistically only being about a second off a decent pace is pretty good. I feel we can be competitive if we can get more dry time and every time we have gone out we've knocked off a second, so if we continue with that we'll be good. I'm getting more comfortable on the bike and it's working great, the crew have been real good and it's me right now that needs to learn the track a bit more every time out. Hopefully it will come good tomorrow and we'll be able to get up and into the middle of the pack!"
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"Luckily the weather has been kind today and we have been able to get through some valuable preparation work for Sunday's race. Chris has been pushing hard from the start and has been very consistent, but he is also a bit frustrated that he hasn't been able to go quicker. That said, his best times have come on tyres that have done over 20 laps and that is a good sign for the race. Now if we can find a bit more rear grip and make the bike easier to ride in certain sections of the track, there is without question a fair bit more to come from him. He has his race-face on and nothing less than challenging for the podium is going to satisfy him this weekend!
"In the team's opinion Ben's performance today has been outstanding! We have to remember he only rode the 2007 GSV-R for about two hours at Valencia in November last year, and that Donington Park is completely new to him. Learning a new racetrack is one thing, but learning to ride a new machine with different tyres on a new racetrack is another thing altogether - and pretty difficult to do as well! To get into the 1'30s on the first day is a fantastic achievement and he is serious about going a fair bit faster still, and we are really looking forward to hopefully getting more dry time tomorrow to see how fast he can go!"